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Hilton Bolsters Portfolio with 470 Hotel Openings in 2019

Zacks Equity Research

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. HLT has been performing pretty well of late, given improving economic indicators and expansion strategies, industry-leading loyalty program, and the asset-light business model. Notably, 2019 — the company’s centennial year — highlighted record-breaking growth, awards for its inclusive workplace culture, and continued recognition of positive community impact.

Key Achievements

Hilton achieved 6.6% net unit growth in 2019 on the back of approximately 470 hotels and 6,110 properties across the world, with more than 971,000 rooms in 119 countries and territories. Notably, it has more than 387,000 rooms across 15 brands in its pipeline, supported by around 116,000 rooms approved in 72 countries and territories.

During 2019, the company added 11 hotels across its luxury brands, namely Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts; introduced Signia by Hilton; expanded presence in Africa with more than 100 hotels trading or under development; and opened its 2,500th hotel by the Hampton brand, 115th Tru by Hilton, 500th Homewood Suites by Hilton property.

On the Travel front, the company launched The Hilton Effect Foundation; expanded its decade-long soap recycling program; invested in local communities by contributing almost 550,000 volunteering hours to nearly 10,500 events, and undertook the food donation initiative in the United States and Canada. Notably, it was recognized as a global industry leader in sustainability on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and the only hospitality company on Fortune’s Change the World list.

In 2019, Hilton’s award-winning loyalty program grew 21% year over year to more than 103 million members. Additionally, it partnered with Lyft and iHeartRadio to better serve its members with Hilton Honors Points, live radio stations, and music playlists and podcasts. Markedly, Hilton became the first hospitality company to participate in research aboard with the International Space Station, when its DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie became the first food baked in space inside a prototype oven, as part of a landmark microgravity experiment.

Moreover, the company was recognized as the best workplace by various platforms.

Growth Drivers

Hilton has been focusing on the unit expansion strategy to drive growth. Moreover, more than half of its pipeline is located outside the United States. Hence, it enjoys broad geographic diversity that helps it lower the effect of volatility in individual markets.

Meanwhile, its capital-light operating business is a boon for the company. It spun off a portfolio of hotels and resorts, as well as the timeshare business to better look after its core business.

Shares of Hilton have gained 46.1% over a year compared with the industry’s rally of 22.7%. The company’s 2020 earnings are expected to grow 8.3% year over year.



 

Zacks Rank

Hilton — which shares space with Hyatt Hotels Corp. H, Marriott International, Inc. MAR and Choice Hotels International, Inc. CHH — currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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